DO you know a vibrant, passionate, caring and credible individual or group who deserve to be acknowledged for what they do in Herefordshire?

If so then make sure you nominate them now so they can be rewarded for their outstanding contribution.

Nominations for the Herefordshire Community Champions Awards 2019 are now open, made possible with sponsorship from Avara Foods.

Now in its fourth year, the awards continue to show appreciation for the outstanding contribution made by individuals and groups across the county.

There are five categories open to nominations for people in Herefordshire who have made a positive difference in their community: Community Champion; Volunteer Champion; Caring Champion; Environment Champion and Youth Champion.

And there are some big footsteps to follow in, taking into account the commitment to their communities shown by last year’s winners.

Last year's community champion was Edgar Whiteley whose commitment to Bromyard spans a lifetime.

He can be found in Bromyard town leading litter picks with children, selling poppies for the Royal British Legion or handing out the hymn books at St Peter's Church on a Sunday morning.

As president and chairman of Bromyard Town Football Club, he was instrumental in developing the facilities of the club which is now a successful community club for junior players.

He is known to the people of Bromyard, young and old alike, for his public spiritedness and generosity with his time.

David Sheppard and Karen Usher, the team who have championed a new university for the county since 2009, with the aim of enhancing the economy of Herefordshire, were the winners of last year's volunteer champion award.

They have secured support from the community and local businesses, and substantial government funding. The tenacity and resilience of David and Karen has led to the success of the university which saw the first cohort of students arrive in September 2018.

Julie Cartmell's role as a Herefordshire Samaritans volunteer for over 25 years, providing confidential and emotional support to people in desperate need or at risk of suicide, brought her the caring champion award.

Those who reach out to Samaritans may be in financial distress, suffering a failed relationship, abuse, bereavement or job loss. They may feel isolated or cut off from loved ones due to illness or lack of mobility.

Julie handles each call sensitively and without judgment, showing great patience and empathy and her commitment to Samaritans is inspirational.

Last year's environment champion was Emma Jones who started the Hereford Community Clean Up Facebook group in August 2017. This has grown to more than 1,500 members.

She is passionate about cleaning up Hereford – a passion shared by others evidenced by the numbers of people who turn out to help litter pick each week.

Strong Young Minds, a vibrant, active and formidable group of young people from across Herefordshire, were last year's youth champion winners.

Following their own personal experiences of mental health issues, they have made it their mission to raise awareness of youth mental health, to reduce stigma and to make it easier for young people to ask for help and support.

Nominations close at midday on Monday, February 11. All finalists will be invited to attend a presentation evening on Friday, March 22. The winner of each category will be awarded a trophy, certificate and cash prize of £500 with one overall champion awarded an additional £500 – entirely funded by sponsorship from Avara Foods.

Nominate your champion online, or find out more at